Saturday, April 24, 2010

States' Abortion Laws Reflect Growing Public Abhorrence

State legislatures across America, reflecting the will of the people, steadily enact additional restrictions on the 'freedom' to kill the unborn.

(See also previous articles)

-- From "Nebraska Law Sets Limits on Abortion" by Monica Davey, New York Times 4/13/10

Gov. Dave Heineman of Nebraska signed a law [April 13th] banning most abortions 20 weeks after conception or later on the theory that a fetus, by that stage in pregnancy, has the capacity to feel pain. The law, which appears nearly certain to set off legal and scientific debates, is the first in the nation to restrict abortions on the basis of fetal pain.

Abortion opponents praised the law and said it was justified by medical evidence gained since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. Abortion rights advocates said that the measure was unconstitutional, and that the motive behind it was to set off a challenge to legalized abortion before the United States Supreme Court.

The law, which is to take effect Oct. 15, restricts abortion in Nebraska on several fronts. It will forbid abortions after 20 weeks’ gestation. The law it replaces, similar to those in many other states, banned abortions after a fetus reaches viability, or can survive outside the womb. This is determined case by case but is generally considered to come around 22 weeks at the earliest.

The new law grants exceptions only in cases of medical emergency, the pregnant woman’s imminent death, or a serious risk of “substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function,” a provision experts interpreted as an effort to exclude an exception based on a woman’s mental health.

What is perhaps most notable about the law is that it takes aim at abortions from an utterly different perspective — the possibility of fetal pain — than states have tried historically, said officials at the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit research organization that focuses on reproductive health and rights.

In some states that mandate counseling for women considering abortions, the women are told of a possibility that fetuses may have the capacity to feel pain. But no other state cites that possibility as part of a law restricting abortions.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Virginia legislature restricts abortion funding" by Rosalind S. Helderman and Anita Kumar, Washington Post Staff Writers 4/22/10

The Virginia General Assembly on Wednesday accepted proposals from Gov. Robert F. McDonnell to restrict state funding for abortions, expand spending on economic development and raise fines for speeders, but lawmakers resisted some cuts he had sought for social services.

On a 20 to 19 vote, the Democratic-led Senate agreed to an amendment proposed by McDonnell (R) that would limit state funding for abortions to those performed in cases of rape or incest or when the life of the mother is at risk. Nothing in state law previously prohibited Medicaid-funded abortions in instances when the health of the mother was in jeopardy.

The abortion vote was a victory for McDonnell, a Catholic who has long opposed abortion and who had been lobbied by social conservatives to restrict funding for the procedure. McDonnell argued that his proposal would bring Virginia into line with federal law on the issue, recently restated by an executive order signed by President Obama.

Abortion rights supporters said they thought the amendment would have far broader impact, affecting state employees seeking abortions under their state health plans. They said they thought it would restrict all abortions at public hospitals, except a very few performed for Medicaid patients in cases of rape or incest or when the life of the mother is at risk.

Those arguments were rejected by three conservative Democrats in the Senate, where their party holds a two-vote majority, as well as by all 17 of the chamber's Republicans who were present.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Mississippi, Louisiana, Moving to Ban State-Backed Insurance Abortion Coverage" posted at Ms. Magazine 4/23/10

The Mississippi and Louisiana state legislatures are both moving to pass legislation that would ban abortion coverage in each state's respective health insurance exchange being created as a result of the new federal health care package. Anti-choice legislation in Missouri also includes a provision that would ban abortion coverage in their insurance exchange.

In Mississippi, the state House passed a bill yesterday on an 80 to 33 vote that aims to ban abortion coverage in the state's insurance exchange, reported the Jackson Free Press.

In Louisiana, the state House overwhelmingly passed a bill yesterday on a 76 to 13 vote that would not only prohibit coverage of abortion in the state health insurance exchange, but would also prohibit elective abortion coverage by private insurers. The bill does not include exceptions for rape or incest, but does include an exception if a woman's life is endangered, according to the Associated Press.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Anti-abortion bill holds up action in Miss. Legislature" by Molly Parker, Gannett posted at Clarion Ledger 4/24/10

State lawmakers were set to close down session Friday until a Republican House lawmaker held two agencies' budgets hostage in an attempt to force a vote on anti-abortion legislation championed by a Mississippi senator running for Congress.

Rep. Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, said members "want an opportunity to vote on this bill."

Senate Bill 3214, sponsored by Sen. Alan Nunnelee - a Republican for Mississippi's 1st Congressional District - says no abortion coverage may be provided by a qualified health plan offered through a state health insurance exchange program.

The new federal health care law calls for states to create health exchange programs by 2014 and includes an opt-out provision related to abortion - effectively reiterating existing federal law.

Asked his opinion, Gov. Haley Barbour said in a brief exchange: "They've got to finish their business."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Tenn. legislature passes bill to outlaw taxpayer-funded abortions" posted at WVLT-TV Knoxville, TN 4/21/10

If Governor Bredesen signs the bill, Tennessee will become the first state to opt out of abortion mandates in the federal health care bill. But those who support abortion rights say the bill is much ado about nothing.

. . . Stacy Dunn of Tennessee Right to Life, which strongly supports the bill, says the State Legislature has sent a message and done the right thing.

Both the state house and senate approved the bill overwhelmingly . . .

Language in the bill says quote "No health care plan required to be established in the state through an exchange pursuant to federal health care reform legislation enacted by the 111th Congress shall offer coverage for abortion services."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Abortion bill passes [Missouri] Senate" posted at Daily Dunklin Democrat (Kennet, MO) 4/23/10

Professional counseling, printed materials that show the development of the child, and opportunities to see an ultrasound or hear the baby's heartbeat are provisions in a bill that is one step closer to strengthening abortion requirements in Missouri. Senate Bill 793, sponsored by Sen. Rob Mayer (R-Dexter), received final passage by the Senate today.

In addition to the options presented to the mother, the act would require the woman to be told of the father's liability for child support, and the Alternatives to Abortion program. The bill also encapsulates legislation that bans coverage for abortion in any health care exchanges, such as those located in the federal health care legislation. If enacted, all of these options must be provided within 24 hours of the procedure.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Henry vetoes 2 abortion bills" by Barbara Hoberock, Tulsa World Capitol Bureau 4/24/10

[Oklahoma] Gov. Brad Henry vetoed two controversial abortion bills on Friday, likely setting up an override battle in the Legislature.

Henry rejected House Bill 2780, which would have required women seeking abortions to undergo ultrasounds within an hour of the procedure and have the findings explained.

The governor said the measure had numerous flaws and would ultimately result in another expensive and possibly futile legal battle for the state.

A court previously declared a similar measure unconstitutional because it contained more than one subject.

Henry said HB 2780 also did not contain an exemption for rape and incest victims, adding that requiring them to have an ultrasound would victimize them again.

In 2008, Henry vetoed similar legislation, but his veto was overridden.

Henry also vetoed House Bill 2656, which would prohibit so-called "wrongful life" lawsuits against doctors who withhold information about a fetus or pregnancy that could cause a woman to seek an abortion.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.